Last Friday, July 10th, Sandra Bland was pulled over for failing to use her turn signal. 72 hours later, she was found dead, in her Waller County, jail cell. We, the public, are being told, that she committed suicide, by hanging herself, with a trash bag. This is the same jail, that another inmate, James Howell, age 29, supposedly hung himself in 2012.
Yesterday, the world lost a living legend. The incomparable Riley "B.B." King, the UNDISPUTED, KING OF THE BLUES. He passed away peacefully, Thursday night, in his sleep. It has been reported, that in the past month, Mr. King, suffered a series of mini-strokes, due to complications, of his long battle with diabetes. His death has left me and the world, with a sadness and a heaviness in our hearts.
Is it about Jesus or is it about the conference, itself? These are the things I think, and the questions, I ask on a daily basis. People are hungry and need to hear the Living Word. Not eat of all the catered food on finely adorned tables in the house of God. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong, with being able to make your guests feel welcomed, and provide for their physical, as well as their, spiritual needs. I'm not saying that.
What I am saying is, it's not all about the glitz and glam, the finery and fancery. The hats and the shoes. The dresses and the suits. It's about Jesus. The Living Word who was made flesh. And, I'm finding out, that too often, that it's becoming less and less about Him, and more and more about other things. I too, want to go where signs, miracles, and wonders follow. The Bible says, "and these will be the signs that follow them that believe!"
The same question I asked in the title, was also posed to me, by Sister in Christ and Intercessor. She said "I like to look pretty just like the next lady, but that's not what it's all about. I want to go where signs, miracles, and wonders are. Not just somewhere to say "I went!" I mean, IS IT ABOUT JESUS, or is it about the conference?!" End Quote. So, I'm not the only one, who's noticing this.
I preached an engagement a while back, that I was asked to be a part of, at the last moment. I said "yes" hesitantly, because I was still halfheartedly, trying to stay in my comfort zone, while simultaneously, trying to put my personal fears under subjection, and walk on them. That was more than a year ago and I'm doing much better with walking in the boldness that God gave me, I'm grateful for that! But anway, I preached the engagement and the Word went forth. I think many were helped by it, as was I, but I swore I would never do THAT TYPE of engagement, again.
Since I accepted at the last minute, like I said, earlier. I didn't have all of the details. There were 3 speakers, but they were not the focus. The focus seemed to be, primarily a fashion show, and the speakers were being squeezed in, in between their wardrobe changes. Yes, it was a literal fashion show, not a proverbial one. I just...(what am I even supposed to say about that. A. Fashion. Show. In. The. House. Of. God.
They had vendors there, selling purses and clothes, and they were selling food out of the cafeteria, as well. The announcements of "Be sure to go check out the purses over there in the corner, before you leave, they've been discounted" and "we have fish plates in the back for such-and-such amount of dollars" were going out in between the speakers and the fashion show.
I was like.."Is this really happening? This can't be happening! Except, it IS." It was. It was happening. I'm laughing now, but I wasn't then. I was honestly, annoyed, angry, and saddened.
My face was saying "IS THIS ABOUT JESUS...OR ABOUT THE FASHION SHOW?! AND THE FISH PLATES? AND THE PURSES FOR SALE? chile, naw.
Let's keep the main thing, the main-thing. This is about Jesus and Him crucified, and resurrected. This is about compelling men to Christ. This is about the Kingdom of God advancing. This is about helping the lost come to salvation, exhorting the backslider to repent, and equipping the saints for service. I feel the main focus of any conference should be glorifying our Father, exemplifying faith and love in action. It should be about healing, deliverance and encouragement. It is not to strut around like a peacock, with big hats and sequins and sell your wares. If that's what it's about count me out.
It's time to cleanse the temple! Matthew 21:12-13 says
...Then Jesus went into the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
I had my Easter evening all planned out.
That was the plan.
It's shortly after 11p.m.
I was about to say, and "finally, the house is quiet". But, I would've spoken too soon. Sigh.
I've been sighing, for the better part of this day, because you know.. LIFE. LOL! I am really sitting here typing this, laughing out loud.
I would tell you guys all about the folly, I've seen and experienced today. But, that would take all night. And I don't have all night. As I mentioned earlier, it's after 11p.m. So, instead, I'll just put my stunna shades on, so I don't have to see it anymore. Not really. I just love those glasses, and I'll find any excuse to put 'em on.
So, let's get to the part where "sighing" goes out the window, and The Whole Attitude of Gratitude-thing comes into play. Shall we?
After a day like the one I've had (and it's been a doozy)...
At the end of it all, I realize that I am blessed beyond measure!
I am grateful for things "being as well as they are"! I say those words, to the Lord, just about, every day of my life.
Because, I sit here and type in the comfort of my home, with all the modern conveniences. Like WiFi. And we all know, how y'all can't live without that.
I even had that WebTV thing back in the early 90's, when internet was "NEW"-new. Does anyone remember that? It was a keyboard, you just plugged into your TV, with an adapter of some sort. You could set up an email account through the provider and whatnot, and SLOWLY surf the web! And I do mean, slow-ly, too!
It took like 3-5 minutes to load a web page. Chile. But we didn't know that it was slow. We had nothing to compare it to. (Until I went to work for a startup Internet company and found out what multiple,huge servers, will allow you to do!) Bet we wouldn't go for that now, though, would we? I know I couldn't abide it. I do everything quickly, and I don't have time for dilly-dallying. 3-5 minutes to load a webpage? That would kill these kids. And me too. I have about 8-10 tabs open at any given time, on this laptop. NAH. That would never do! I had totally forgotten about that thing, until my sister-in-law reminded me, of it. So yeah, that's enough to make me grateful, right there.
And THE FIRST THING kids want to know, when they come to your house, is do you have WiFi? What if I don't? Then, what? They're not going to stay or come over again? I'd really like to know. The next time they ask that, I'm going to tell them I have WebTV.
.....but in all seriousness
I AM TRULY GRATEFUL to God, for all that He's done, for me. I don't have to go to bed hungry, tonight. But someone, somewhere does. I have a reasonable portion of health and strength. Someone, somewhere is wishing they could say the same. I have a family, that I love, and loves me back . But someone, somewhere is hurting because they feel alone and they think no one cares. For some of them it's true. I see it every day. People who really don't have anybody. It's a sad thing to be in this world all by yourself. There's so much that we all take for granted, that others would be so grateful to have.
Sometimes it's difficult not to let the stressors of life, overwhelm us for a moment. We all have those days. It's normal. We're human. Especially for moms. We move like we have a battery in our back. We just, "go, go, go", because it's what we know. And often, it's what we must do. The older I get, the more I'm learning how to slow down, and truly be in the moment. They are sometimes, few and far between, but when I see an opening to stop for a second, I DO. Do it when you can, as often, as you can. Life is too short, to spend it, rushing. It'll still be there when you come back to it. Whatever IT is.
I thank God, tonight, for inner peace and joy. It's a supernatural peace, that in the midst of storms, we have the power to speak a word of any situation, and calm it.
I say "PEACE BE STIILLL OFTEN! OFTEN! OF-TEN!
Y'all can laugh if you want to, but...LISTEN!
The "good" WiFi went out for 45 minutes, RIGHT AFTER, I had typed "I don't have all night" and was getting ready to talk about gratefulness! See how that works?
Be blessed and encouraged. God loves you and I DO TOO! I am grateful for you as well.
2:18 a.m. <---- Y'all see that time stamp?
This is a Rhema Word that will preach in ANY season. Pastor Pitt's is just getting started too. I've got to find the rest of this video. He's got me in here ready to get on the mic one time! WOOOO!!!
Preach on preacher, until God says well done!
To Kill A Mockingbird and Harper Lee fans, almost squealed out loud, when we heard the news this morning. I say "almost squealed" but I actually did! And I'm not ashamed of it.
I've read the book 4 times, but I've watched the movie countless times. Just about everytime it's on. I've lost count. But the sentiment is the same EVERYTIME I watch it. Snuff out Mayella Ewell and her father... and give Boo Radley a hug.
So many times, I've wondered.. why isn't there a sequel? Why did Harper Lee just leave the building like that? Where is she? Is she ever coming back? Did she move to Bahrain?
What became of Scout? Did she and Boo become good friends? After all, he did save her and Jem's life. So many questions that needed answering. And today, we heard the word, that we just may get them!
Miss Harper finally emerged from The Valley of the Reclusives, like Jordan wearing the 4-5, bearing good tidings!
The sequel, Go Set a Watchman, was apparently written in the 1950's, (yep, it's 2015) when she was still a young writer. She set it aside (for reasons) and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, for the only book, she ever published. The beloved To Kill A Mockingbird. Then.. she faded to black, and all her fans were left longing for her to give us more of the characters we fell in love with. She said she didn't know, and could hardly believe, the original book had survived after all these years. However, to her suprise and delight, and OURS, it was found by, her long time friend and lawyer, Tonja Carter. You're the bee's knees Tonja!
Lee said she shared the book with a handful of people she finds" trustworthy".. Let me just pause and say this... Harper obviously doesn't trust a lot of people, you guys..
That's why she wouldn't let us find her. She hasn't shown her face, to us willingly, since the 60's! Can't say as I blame her though. I'm sort of the same way. Those who know me can testify. But yes, anyway.. those "trustworthy people" .... after reading Go Set a Watchman, thought it may be worthy of publication. Uummm...you think?!
It goes to publishing on July 14th, 2015, and will feaure Scout as an adult. Today was truly a great day in the literary world! Welcome back Ms. Lee!
Update: Sadly, on the morning February 19, 2016, Harper passed away, peacefully, in her sleep. Ms. Lee was 89 years old.
Dr. Maya Angelou was a light, that I believe, that was given to us by the Most High. Her passing did not leave me saddened, but, instead, encouraged. She ran the race that set was set before her. Not only did she run but she ran well, and she has finished her course.
She lived a life that set an example for all us. She showed it that it didn't matter how you start the race but how you finish it. Coming from meager beginnings, being abandoned by her mother and father, and surviving abuse at age 7,not speaking audibly for 6 yrs, to dropping out of school, and becoming an unwed, teenage mother, to going back to school, learning to speak 6 different languages, and adding to her resume, the titles of author, singer, dancer, poet, teacher, and actress.
I've often thought about Mother Angelou, telling the story of her mother's boyfriend abusing her. After she told her relatives, what he did to her, he was put in jail, 24 hours later he was found beaten to death. The police came to notify the family, and she was within earshot, her 7yr old logic told her that her voice had killed him. She stopped speaking for years because she thought her "voice" had the power to kill.</p><p>I just believe that that was a tactic of the forces of darkness trying to silence a voice that would bring joy, insight, and wisdom to the world. But what the enemy means for bad God will always turn it around for good.</p>
How grateful I am for this gift of her voice. The encouragement and the wisdom, that it spoke. The hope that it stirred. The creativity that it spewed out in rivers. She was a good steward over the gifts that God gave her. Nothing wasted.
So in closing, I will take some valuable cues from Dr. Angelou, and try my best not to waste or squander, all that God has put it in me. I pray to sow it in good ground, so that a harvest may spring up in someone else's field, just as the seeds she's sown have sprang up in my backyard, and in others. "For, at our best, we are all Teachers".
In my opinion, she really was the world's Mother. Rest on Dear One!
I don't think there is anyone around, who loves R&B music, who is not a fan of the soulful, powerhouse voice of Bobby Womack. The man who belted out such classics as, "If You Think You're Lonely Now, Across 110th St, Harry Hippie", and so many more, sadly passed away yesterday, at the age of 70 yrs. old.
Although, there are not very many specifics, as to the cause of his death, it is known that, Mr. Womack has battled prostate and colon cancer, in the past. Nevertheless, that is not the focus of this post, because we know, that if you know God, death is merely a vehicle that takes you into life. Eternal life.
My focus is on the man, who had the gift of a tremendous voice, that brought joy and sometimes tears, to the eyes of those listening to it. He and David Ruffin, are two singers, who when I listen to them belt out their notes, it almost seems as though, it is EFFORTLESS. That they really didn't have to try. It was something that seemed to come as natural to them, as breathing air.
I remember watching old YouTube clips of Ruffin from the 80's, when the Temptations, tried their hands, at a reunion tour. David came on stage looking ravaged, and worn. You could tell that drugs and alcohol had clearly been having their way with him, but when he opened his mouth...!!!! Pure, unfiltered, raw talent!
Bobby's voice was that kind of voice. Bobby himself, also had his own storied past with drug and alcohol abuse, that he often spoke candidly about. But just as with Ruffin, the "pipes" seemingly remained unaffected. That voice ALWAYS ever melodic, strong, raw, and BEAUTIFUL.
He will be missed, but the gift of the beautiful music he gave us will live on forever.
We thank you, Bobby, for some of the soundtracks to our lives! Rest well.